Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed November 2004)

Chief administrator: Velma Neel, Associate Administrator, (713) 797-9191

Firm: O'Neill Hill and Associates, LLC, (713) 524-5555

Design team: James W. O'Neill, Project Designer; Mollie P. Hill, Project Manager; Michael Kopecky, Project Architect; Melanie Keig, Designer

Photography: ©2005 Mark Scheyer, Inc.; O'Neill Hill and Associates, LLC

Total building area (sq. ft.): 75,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $60

Total construction cost (excluding land): $4,500,000

Having been housed in its existing building for almost 30 years, Diagnostic Clinic of Houston (DCH) was in need of a complete makeover. The only requirement from the 40 doctors in the practice was that the careful, personal attention to patients would not change.

The building search committee selected a building just outside the medical center. Three contiguous floors were set aside for the clinics and laboratory, with a separate floor for the administrative office, IT, and staff lunch room. The first floor became the diagnostic imaging suite with x-ray, mammography, nuclear medicine, CAT, and MRI.

The design concepts for the clinics were based on dividing the center-core floor plate into quadrants. Each quadrant is a different “neighborhood” for four doctors and eight exam rooms. The circulation path to the exam rooms was pushed to the perimeter of the floor to provide views of downtown and the park to all patients and staff. The corridors are connected to a north and south community room with a centralized reception desk.

The design opened the center of the building for patients and relocated the nurses and doctors to either end in “gated communities” for more privacy. The circulation path at the exterior window wall also connects to the other side of the building in two cross-connections at the doctors' “gated communities,” allowing fast access for doctors and patients as they access other specialties. The patient exam room “neighborhoods” are color-coded for easy wayfinding.